Why The Trade Desk, Inc. Has Popped 103.4% in 2018 So Far

What happened

Shares of The Trade Desk (NASDAQ: TTD) have skyrocketed 103.4% year to date in 2018, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, driven by two exceptional quarterly reports from the programmatic advertising specialist.

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The Trade Desk's first big pop of the year came on February 23, when shares climbed more than 20% on what CEO Jeff Green called an "outstanding" fourth-quarter 2017 report. Green also predicted at the time that his company would enjoy "another record year [in 2018] as we continue to see great momentum in the adoption of programmatic advertising on our platform worldwide."

So what

Still, Trade Desk stock gave up much of its early 2018 gains in the subsequent two months — that is, until the company posted a blowout first quarter that caused shares to skyrocket 40% in a single day. In that report, the company revealed that revenue had climbed an incredible 61% year over year to $85.7 million, while adjusted net income soared 96% to $15.3 million, or $0.34 per share. By comparison, Trade Desk's February guidance called for adjusted EBITDA of $7.5 million on far lower revenue of $73 million — a stunning beat that left the market no choice but to ferociously bid up the stock in response.

Now what

The Trade Desk should be poised to release second-quarter 2018 results in early August. And as the saying goes, past performance can't guarantee future results, so investors certainly shouldn't account for a third incredible post-earnings pop as part of their buying thesis.

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For perspective, though, the company's latest guidance calls for second-quarter revenue of $103 million, or growth of 41.5% from the same year-ago period, with adjusted EBITDA of $30 million. Even with the stock up big so far in 2018, if Trade Desk follows through with its recent habit of under-promising and over-delivering, I won't be the least bit surprised if it extends its recent gains.

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Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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